WHY MOTHERS AND BABIES BENEFIT FROM EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
• Regular exercise during pregnancy reduces back pain, constipation, may decrease risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery, promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy, improves overall general fitness and strengthens the heart and blood vessels, helping you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
- American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
• Exercise during pregnancy enhances your newborn child's brain development (Université de Montréal) "Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly."
• Exercising during pregnancy leads to better birth weights in newborns
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EVIDENCE AND EDUCATION
• The ONLY prenatal vitamin I use, with methylfolate and folinic acid instead of folic acid - no affiliation. This is just the BEST one on the market I’ve found.
• Healthy Births, Happy Babies podcast
SUPPORT AND CARE PROVIDERS - Montana and California
• ROOTS FAMILY COLLABORATIVE - Mama and Family Support in Bozeman, MT
• Shannon Sepulveda - Women’s Health PT in Bozeman
* Active Family Chiropractic - Bozeman and Belgrade
•Kimberly Johnson at Magamama - Vaginapractor and expert care for women and new moms - Southern California and online
•Level 4 PT - Women's Health Physical Therapy in Encinitas, CA
Exercise during pregnancy has SO many benefits and there is a lot you can do.
But NOT ALL exercises or sports are safe to do while pregnant.
It can be hard to determine what kinds of exercises should be AVOIDED during pregnancy but
I COMPILED THIS EVIDENCE-BASED LIST to help guide you.
I am passionate about helping birthing parents continue doing everything they love to do throughout pregnancy, but your body IS changing and special considerations should be made. ALWAYS ask your care provider about your specific situation regarding exercise and other physical activities.
My additions in italics:
Heavy weight training lifts that involve maximal isometric muscle contractions are thought to put too much stress on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system, - as well as creating too much intra-abdominal pressure that may lead to diastasis recti or pelvic floor dysfunction (incontinence/prolapse)!!!;
Holding your breath during difficult positions during yoga or while weight training. If you are ever not breathing during any exercise this is a clear indication you are over-exerting yourself and you need to stop immediately;
Exercises lying on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy should be avoided to reduce the risk of affecting blood flow to the foetus and hypotension from vena cava compression by the uterus;
Exercises which involve lying on the stomach after the first trimester;
Some abdominal strengthening exercises will be very uncomfortable due to muscle weakness and the development of abdominal separation, a condition called diastasis recti. This occurs as a result of the growing uterus and a dysfunctional inner core unit;
Standing still for long periods of time is not recommended;
Contact sports and high-impact sports such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball can risk abdominal trauma, excessive joint stress and falls;
Scuba diving should be avoided as the pressure can result in birth defects and fetal decompression sickness;
Any activities that increase the risk of falls should be avoided in order to reduce the risk of injury to you and your fetus. This includes sports such as gymnastics, horseback riding and water skiing;
Any activities which require changes to the centre of gravity should be avoided as this can cause balance problems. This includes vigorous racquet sports such as squash and tennis - ligaments also become looser during pregnancy and breastfeeding so these sports and plyometric movements should typically be avoided;
Any sports at altitude may induce altitude sickness which in turn can reduce the oxygen supply to the foetus. This does not appear to be the case for moderate intensity exercise at altitudes anywhere up to 2,500m but if you want to exercise at altitudes above this upper limit you should be guided through appropriate acclimatisation and make modifications to you activities as guided by your doctor. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness including excessive shortness of breath, chest pain and light-headedness and weakness, you must stop exercising immediately and seek medical aid.